Alexandar Georgiev is 4-0-1 as a starting netminder, Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon have 9 points in 7 games, and Evan Rodrigues won the game by getting a shootout goal past arguably the second (if not best) goaltender in the league on Tuesday night. Some key players for the Colorado Avalanche are rising to the occasion.
Needless to say, the Avs are clicking, but they are also dealing with injuries. Today it was announced that the team’s point leader, Valeri Nichushkin, won’t be in the lineup tonight against the New Jersey Devils as he deals with a lower-body injury, and of course, the team is already without its captain, Gabriel Landeskog, as well as Darren Helm.
It’s time for the depth of the Avalanche to start playing a role in winning hockey games, specifically Alex Newhook and J.T. Compher. Both players have been relatively non-existent for the Avalanche so far this season, despite playing in all 7 games. Compher has 1 point (an assist) while Newhook has yet to tally any points on the season. That’s not ideal when these were the guys that were rumored to take over the 2C slot upon Nazem Kadri’s departure. Compher is averaging 16 minutes of ice time, while Newhook is a little over 13 and both are below 50 percent in the face-off dot. Again, that’s not ideal.
These aren’t guys that get sent down to the minor to adjust their game. They’re role players for the Avalanche and it’s time they start showing it. Our penalty kill is getting better, our goaltending looks settled in, and our top line has been lights out. If Newhook and Compher want to lift the Stanley Cup (or even avoid the trade block) they need to start contributing in bigger ways, especially on a long road trip where the team faces a New Jersey Devils group that looks like they have something going, a struggling Islanders team, then head to Finland for back-to-backs against a bottom tier Blue Jackets club.
We need the depth to rise to the occasion, so let’s hope these two get off the snide and become the players Colorado Avalanche faithful hoped they be.